Hana no Iwaya Shrine 花の窟神社

On July 2, 2017 I will be leading Kōgakkan University 皇學館大学 students and faculty on a historical tour of sites along the “Old Road of Kumano” 熊野古道. Hana no Iwaya Shrine (花の窟神社) is the furthest south we will go on our trip.

1. An explanation of the shrine’s origin.

This is the gravesite of the deity Izanami-no-mikoto (伊弉冊尊). According to one of Japan’s oldest texts, she joined with the deity Izanagi-no-mikoto (伊弉諾尊) to create the Japanese islands and many deities, but died giving birth to the fire deity, Kagutsuchi-no-mikoto (軻遇突智尊). This shrine is said to be one of the oldest ones in the Shinto tradition.

2. One of the most important events at the shrine is the twice-yearly rope-making and hanging ceremony.